Janet Jackson, Hollywood veteran and sister of late pop star, Michael Jackson became the first black woman to receive the Billboard Music ‘Icon’ Award on Sunday.
The Billboard Music Award is an annual honour given by Billboard, a publication and music popularity chart covering the music business since 1990.
52-year old Jackson was awarded because of the influence of her nearly 40-year career which spans television and music, earning her 35 awards and over 100 million record sales.
The youngest child of the legendary Jackson musical family, began her career with the variety television series ‘The Jacksons’ in 1976 and went on to appear in other television shows throughout the 1970s.
Jackson also used the opportunity to pay tribute to powerful women speaking against discrimination.
Before presenting Jackson with the award, R&B singer, Bruno Mars told the crowd she “represents undeniable artistic genius.”
A retrospective documenting Jackson’s career followed, with clips of her appearance as a kid on ‘The Carol Burnett Show’ to highlights of her breakout hits.
Jackson then took the stage, performing “Nasty” from 1986’s ‘Control’ and “If” and “Throb” from ‘Janet’.
She said, “I believe that for all the challenges, for all our challenges, we live at a glorious moment in history.
“It’s a moment when at long last women have made it clear that we will no longer be controlled, manipulated, or abused.
“I stand with those women and with those men equally outraged by discrimination, who support us in heart or mind,” Jackson said.
Jackson’s honour comes just days after the 25th anniversary of her seminal album ‘Janet’, along with an appearance on the cover of Billboard Magazine.
Past recipients of the Icon Award include: Cher, Celine Dion, Jennifer Lopez and Prince.